Wiltshire Publications

Town council prepares to fight the incinerator

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WESTBURY Town Council has made provisional plans to represent the town in the fight against a controversial waste incinerator being built. 

The town awaits a decision from Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, on whether to ‘call in’ the plans for further scrutiny, following their approval by Wiltshire Council on 23rd June. If the plans are called in and an inquiry is held, Westbury Town Council is applying for permission to appear and pose questions. 

Town councillors have also agreed up to £10,000 for a report to be made against the waste to energy incinerator, planned by Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL). 

 At a meeting of Westbury Town Council held earlier this month, councillors agreed to apply for the go-ahead to represent the town at a future inquiry, which is known as applying rule 6. Councillors agreed that a task and finish group be set up to state the case against the incinerator.

Strong defence

They explained that reasons could range from climate change, transport or planning grounds and the group will be tasked with presenting a strong defence. 

Deborah Urch, Westbury Town Council clerk said, “The town council has resolved to apply for Rule 6 and has allocated an initial budget to support this. However, they have requested setting up a task & finish group to consider and agree the town council’s substantive reason for opposing the incinerator.

“Once they have agreed the substantive reason, they will commission an expert/specialist to develop a report that the town council can provide to the inspector and use in evidence to support their opposition to the incinerator.” 

Opposition

Plans for the incinerator, which were branded a “carbon-belching monster” by local MP Andrew Murrison, was opposed by 18 local councils and attracted over 2,100 written objections. Wiltshire Council’s strategic planning committee voted in favour of the application by seven votes to four. 

In July, Westbury Town Council wrote a letter to every house in the town, urging residents to write to Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, in a bid to get the application called in for further deliberation. 

Since then, Westbury has taken to the streets in protest, with chants of “Robert Jenrick, call it in” echoing across the high street last month. An online petition, “Say No to the Westbury Incinerator,” has also been signed by 3,477 people. 

Local campaign group, Westbury Gasification Action Group, welcomed the town council’s application for Rule 6. 

Dan Gmaj from the group said, “Many may not be keen that the town council allocate their council tax precept in this way but I believe this is a bold move for localism and true local democracy.  

“It is a travesty that just a very few ‘key actors’ at Wiltshire unitary council have put our community in a position of ‘paying the price’ for the council’s ‘perverse long-term connection’ with the Hills Group. 

“We, the public, always end up paying for this one way or the other, and I for one would rather contribute financially, from the local council precept, than pay with the future health of our community.”

‘Misinformation’

Dan Gmaj also questioned the validity of the claims made by NREL that their new process for waste to energy conversion is more environ- mentally friendly than the previous policy of gasification. 

He said, “To suggest that ‘moving grate incinerator technology’ is in any way ‘eco-friendly’ sums the level of misinformation being brandished by NREL. The very word ‘renewable’ in their name is spurious indeed; we understand that it is clearly old-fashioned profit that is forcing this disastrous project upon our community.” 

One Response to Town council prepares to fight the incinerator

  1. Michael Ryan

    September 14, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Has nobody told Environment Agency Area Manager Jacqui Tootill that infant death rates at Council level rise after incinerators start operating?
    Note the claim of Environment Agency’s Area Manager Jacqui Tootal about permitting of incinerators in Doncaster Free Press, 21 July 2021:

    “Jacqui Tootill, Area Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Our officers have the specialist knowledge and skills that are required to regulate waste facilities and minimise the impact of these sites on people and the environment. We do not permit activities that pose an unacceptable risk.”

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